The core message of the European Research Area is the need to overcome fragmentation of research efforts in the EU through better coordination and cooperation. The ERA-NET instrument was developed to allow coordination and cooperation of national and regional research programmes. National and regional authorities identify research programmes they wish to coordinate or open up mutually. Thus, the participants in these actions are either programme 'owners' (typically ministries or regional authorities defining research programmes) or programme 'managers' (such as research councils or other research funding agencies managing research programmes).